Which author do you write like?

BooksMy fantastic critique buddy, Nicola Layouni, posted a wonderful method of procrastination for writers tearing their hair out with revisions tool for writers.

Using the “I write like analyzer” and pasting some pages of her text in the text box, Nicola discovered that she wrote like James Joyce. Pretty nice compliment, right?

Since I’m right in the middle of major edits now and looking for any distraction that comes my way, I thought I’d give it a shot, too.

I pasted in the first chapter of my manuscript In the Shadow of the Apennines and out spewed George Orwell. Fantastic, I love Orwell. Who doesn’t? I don’t think I write anything like him, but hey, my ego is happy.

So then I paste in the first chapter of my second manuscript, Dark Blue Waves, and out comes the name of Charles Dickens. Um, okay. This is a novel that takes place partly in the 19th century, so I’m willing to play along.

Three short stories later finds me writing like David Foster Wallace, Mario Puzo, and Neil Gaiman. My children would be thrilled with the latter, because they love his children’s book Coraline (as do I).

But, you may have noticed that these are all – er, ehm – authors with rather different styles. And while I’d love to flatter myself that every time I sit down to write a new piece, I invent an entirely new writing style, I can’t help but think this analyzer is a little like the old tests they did with monkeys throwing arrows at the stock listings (and often outperforming professional indexers).

Agents beware. I’ll start querying myself as the new Orwell/Dickens/Foster Wallace/Puzo/Gaiman, all rolled into one (female) package.

Or perhaps I should bite the bullet and just get back to revisions.

But that, dear readers, does not mean that you should miss out on all the entertainment. Here it is, for hours of procrastination fun.

Maybe you’ll discover that you write like Dante/Stephen King/Shakespeare/Dan Brown/Tolstoy/Danielle Steele. Have fun!

I write like analyzer


  1. Catherine on May 31, 2013 at 7:33 am

    I remember doing this once but can’t recall who I was likened to – but two widely diverse writers, both men. Funny that none of the writers whose names came up for you were women! Now what does that mean? There are no women in the programme or do we all write like men?

  2. kimberlysullivan on May 31, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Good point, Catherine. I was sure I’d get a female author, but didn’t get one in all my attempts. Good question – does anyone? Probably all the men writing thrillers and science fiction are getting Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters.

  3. Kate Warren on May 31, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    I’ve had a lot of fun with I Write Like. From what I understand the result is based on word usage and sentence length primarily. My Jane Austen related and regency stories all come out Jane Austen. I’ve also gotten Anne Rice, Margaret Mitchell and a few other ladies. Also a number of men including Shakespeare, Isaac Asimov (big surprise there!), Stephen King, and Ray Bradbury. Either I’m incredibly versatile or there is something really wrong with that analyzer. 😉

    • kimberlysullivan on June 4, 2013 at 8:34 am

      Interesting, Kate! Glad to hear you also got women and men. I’m curious to know if anyone gets the same author twice … or if we’re all so versatile, as you say. : )

  4. Faye North on June 1, 2013 at 1:45 am

    What fun – I write like Dan Brown, and I just finished reading his latest release. Now if only I could match his success!

    • kimberlysullivan on June 4, 2013 at 8:34 am

      Well, yes, Faye. Too bad there’s not an ‘I earn like’ analyzer, too! : )

  5. Julia on June 3, 2013 at 12:49 am

    I did this in the past and some of the authors that turned up were Arthur Clarke, Stephen Kind and Gertrude Stein.

    • kimberlysullivan on June 4, 2013 at 8:35 am

      Ha! Glad to see everyone knows this, Julia. I always get to these things later… : )

  6. chris on June 11, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    I tried this for fun a while back, and also got rather, shall we say, diverse results. Where would we be without these internet time-wasters? A few pages ahead in our manuscripts perhaps, but we need our distractions! 😀

    • kimberlysullivan on June 14, 2013 at 10:09 am

      Oh, yes. Agreed. Procrastinating is key… particularly during edits. : )

  7. Victor Tribunsky on June 27, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Good toy. Hey, Dan Brown, I write like you 🙂 but can I write better? This is the question.

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